West Virginia fans have a not-entirely-undeserved reputation for making Mountaineer Field one of the (ahem) livelier venues in college football. So when athletic director Oliver Luck suggested allowing in-stadium beer sales for Mountaineer home games, the surprise wasn't that he'd propose something so allegedly scandalous (some 30 NCAA football programs already sell beer); it was that so many Mountaineer fans came out in opposition to the idea.
But opposition or no opposition, the WVU Board of Governors decided to side with Luck today and approved the sale of beer at Mountaineer sporting events by a 10-5 vote. West Virginia's 2011 home football games will be the first events at which the new policy is in place.
Though the move will no doubt earn the WVU athletic department some pocket money, Luck and other officials said the primary motivation was to gain more control over the crowd's alcohol consumption:
Luck said he was "pleased" with the approval, which he believes will adress "coarseness" in the stands and "increase civility." The policy change will go into effect as WVU prohibits smoking in public areas of the stadium and ends its practice of allowing re-entry at Mountaineer Field during games.The question now becomes, of course, how much this "step forward" will succeed at controlling problematic drinking and unruly behavior. But no doubt there's plenty of WVU fans happy to see the administration make their attempt in what would be, for many schools, an unorthodox manner.
"I believe we have taken a step forward toward our goal of a safer, friendlier and more civil game day experience," Luck said in a prepared statement ...
"Anybody who thinks there isn't alcohol at Mountaineer Field is either naive or blind," [board member Tom] Flaherty said. "It's been going on at every game. It is there. This is a step forward to try to control that."